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2022 Buick Envision Avenir AWD, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car

 

2022 Buick Envision Avenir AWD First Test: Still Needs More

Buick’s compact crossover doesn’t match the competition.

2022 Buick Envision Avenir AWD 14
buick envision Full Overview

Pros

  • Best-looking Buick in ages
  • Extensive features list
  • Spacious and comfortable

Cons

  • Lacks performance
  • Clattery engine
  • Dreary materials and finishing

When Buick not long ago introduced the second-generation Envision, it seemed like the maligned American luxury automaker finally had a competitive offering. This luxury compact SUV carried legitimately good looks and a list of features that, on paper, might have countered rivals from Europe and Asia. When we tested a front-wheel-drive 2021 Envision, however, we found it was better than the original but not on the level of the best small crossovers. So does all-wheel drive give the 2022 Buick Envision Avenir the status-elevating performance it needs?

Well, This Is Awkward

Every 2022 Buick Envision is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine that produces 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, all sent through a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. Traction typically improves with all-wheel drive; cars that split power between four wheels are often quicker than equivalents that make do with only two. However, the opposite proved true for the 2022 Buick Envision Avenir AWD—it’s somehow slower in every measure.

2022 Buick Envision Avenir AWD 17

Whereas the standard Envision accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, the all-wheel drive model did it in 7.5 seconds. Further along, the front-drive Envision needed 15.5 seconds to complete the quarter mile at an average speed of 90.2 mph, while the all-wheel-drive model needed 15.8 seconds to reach the finish at 88.2 mph.

As such, the Envision is one of the slowest vehicles in the compact luxury SUV segment. Its casual stroll up to speed is accompanied by significant engine noise and vibration. Making matters worse is the transmission’s obtrusive action when it upshifts at high engine revolutions.

Conversely, the Envision’s 116-foot stopping distance from 60 mph is perfectly reasonable for a luxury compact crossover; this result is identical between front- and all-wheel-drive models. Furthermore, the brake pedal feels firm and reactive in a confidence-inspiring way.

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Less Poise, More Headaches

All-wheel drive often improves a vehicle’s outright grip and handling balance, but again, equipped thusly this Buick defies convention. As we grabbed hold of its vague steering, the 2022 Buick Envision Avenir AWD rounded our skidpad at an average of 0.80 g, rather low among the segment and compared to its front-drive equivalent’s 0.84 g result. Similarly, on the figure-eight course it posted a 27.7-second lap at 0.60 g average, a task the front-drive Envision completed in 27.1 seconds at 0.63 g.

Much more disappointing than the Envision’s handling-test results is its confusing all-wheel-drive strategy. In most vehicles, all-wheel drive activates automatically with no driver intervention. However, in the Envision, other models from Buick, and in some other General Motors products, you must activate it manually by selecting a specific setting or drive mode. In the 2022 Buick Envision’s case, you do this via a knob to the left of the steering wheel, and only when there’s no pressure on the accelerator.

2022 Buick Envision Avenir AWD 12

Such a strategy is no concern for drivers with the foresight to activate all-wheel drive before heading out in inclement conditions. It’s far from ideal for anyone who finds their front tires slipping and wonders why the rears aren’t helping to keep the SUV moving forward. The ostensible reason for this approach is a slight improvement in fuel economy. On that subject, with all-wheel drive the Envision’s fuel economy is rated at 22/29 mpg city/highway—about average for the segment—although its smaller fuel tank means more frequent fill-ups.

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Is The Avenir Line Luxurious?

In Buick’s lexicon, “Avenir” connotes the highest-end version of a particular model. In the case of the Envision, the Avenir model stands apart with exterior cues like specific badges, 20-inch wheels, and clear taillights. Slide inside the roomy cabin, and the amount of upscale features is impressive—especially considering the 2022 Envision Avenir’s sub-$43,000 starting price.

Perforated-leather seats in a classic diamond pattern are heated in both rows and ventilated in front. Only the driver gets to enjoy the heated steering wheel, but all aboard can listen to the nine-speaker Bose audio system. Technology touches include a head-up display, wireless charger, active noise cancellation, and a 10.2-inch touchscreen running Buick’s intuitive user interface, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A surround-view camera system shows on that screen, as well.

Our test car was equipped with a massive $1,450 panoramic moonroof, as well as the $1,965 Technology Package II. This brings upgrades like semi-autonomous parking capability, adaptive cruise control, a digital rearview mirror, and so-called Continuous Damping Control suspension. The latter feature was a likely help in this vehicle’s soft, decently controlled ride quality. Factoring in its pretty blue paint and a few other baubles, our test Envision totaled $47,305.

2022 Buick Envision Avenir AWD 1

Yet these eye-catching niceties can’t make up for the Avenir’s otherwise lackluster finishing. Various switches look and actuate like in those of GM’s cheapest cars. Likewise, the gauge cluster’s analog dials look all too familiar. A certain amount of parts sharing can be acceptable, but the obviously fake wood trim and undecorated plastic surfaces throughout are bespoke to the Envision. Buick’s decisions in these areas aren’t great for its footing in the luxury space.

Not Quite What We Envisioned

At a minimum, we hoped all-wheel drive would liven up the 2022 Buick Envision Avenir’s performance compared to our earlier test. Instead, the opposite proved true, though with no negative impact to the Envision’s quiet and comfortable demeanor. The fact that even when it’s fully loaded it remains priced about the same as some base-trim luxury competitors also gives it bang-for-buck appeal.

Even so, the 2022 Buick Envision Avenir AWD can’t match how those other vehicles perform, and more important, feel. Upscale design and a pile of features alone don’t make a luxury car; there are other, more excellent options among today’s compact luxury SUVs.

Looks good! More details?

2022 Buick Envision Avenir AWD Specifications
BASE PRICE $43,045
PRICE AS TESTED $49,380
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.0L Turbo direct-injected DOHC 16-valve I-4
POWER (SAE NET) 228 hp @ 5,000 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 258 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm
TRANSMISSION 9-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,999 lb (59/41%)
WHEELBASE 109.4 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 182.5 x 74.1 x 64.6 in
0-60 MPH 7.5 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.8 sec @ 88.2 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 116 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.80 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.7 sec @ 0.60 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 22/29/25 mpg
EPA RANGE, COMB 403 miles
ON SALE Now

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2023 Buick Envision Starting at $34,695

6.5/10C/D RATING
2023 buick envision driving under a bridge
  • HIGHS: Plenty of curb appeal, attractive starting price, cushy ride quality.
  • LOWS: Mediocre performance, joyless driving experience, not as polished as European offerings.
  • VERDICT: It’s cheaper than its luxury-branded rivals, but the Envision’s overall refinement isn’t quite up to snuff.

Overview

Buick isn’t a brand that immediately springs to mind when it comes to luxury, but its 2023 Envision does its best to impersonate today’s leading compact luxury SUVs. Unfortunately, its best isn’t quite good enough and the American analog to the Audi Q5 and BMW lacks the polish and playfulness to truly compete with these stalwarts. Instead, the Envision plays in the sort of middle-ground between mainstream and luxury SUVs. The Buick’s handsome exterior design cocoons a comfortable cabin that’s available with high-end features and materials.

A 228-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine is standard and it provides the compact SUV with adequate acceleration. Still, the Envision doesn’t deviate from Buick’s comfort-over-performance ethos. To wit: Though its ride is comfortable, the Envision’s driving dynamics are rather bland. If your idea of luxury is merely a quiet interior and a cushy ride, look no further, but the rest of us will find more to love elsewhere in the compact luxury SUV class.

What’s New for 2023?

Two new colors join the Envision’s color palette for 2023: White Frost Tricoat and Moonstone Gray Metallic. Otherwise, the Envision rolls into the new model year unchanged.

 

Pricing and Which One to Buy

Preferred
$34,795
Essence
$38,895
Avenir
$47,055

The mid-range Essence trim will satisfy most customers. Upgrading over the base Preferred model adds amenities such as 18-inch wheels, a power-operated rear liftgate, heated front seats, and a 10.2-inch infotainment display. We’d also suggest the optional Sport Touring package, which adds 20-inch wheels and darkened exterior trim. Those seeking a luxury ride with all the trimmings should turn their attention to the top-flight Avenir.

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Engine, Transmission, and Performance

Buick offers only one engine under the Envision’s hood. It’s a 228-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It pairs with a nine-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive is standard. Buyers can option all-wheel drive on any of the SUV’s three trim levels, though. While the Envision feels perky around town, it never manages to feel particularly quick, especially when compared with luxury models such as the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

At our test track, the Buick delivered an uninspired 7.3-second zero-to-60-mph run; its subjective performance on the road, however, will be perfectly fine for the majority of drivers. We wish that Buick had dialed in some additional athleticism when redesigning the Envision, but instead, the suspension is set up to maximize ride comfort and minimize driving engagement.

2023 buick envision

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

By the EPA’s yardstick, the front-wheel-drive Envision is good for 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Going with an all-wheel-drive model drops those numbers to 22 and 29 mpg, respectively. When we get a chance to put the new Envision through our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, we’ll update this story with results. For more information about the Envision’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.

 

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The Envision’s interior design looks quite snazzy, and of the three trim levels, the Avenir is the one that best competes with rivals such as the Q5, X3, and Mercedes-Benz GLC-class. Although the Preferred and Essence models offer plenty of standard features, the Avenir brings luxuries such as quilted leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and a massaging driver’s seat.

The cabin offers similar amounts of passenger space as the previous-generation model, but the current Envision’s slightly shorter length means it has a little less cargo space than before. While the old model held a maximum of 26 carry-on suitcases with its rear seat folded flat, the new one held only 21.

2023 buick envision interior

 

Infotainment and Connectivity

The base trim, called Preferred, has an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, but Essence and Avenir models get a 10.2-inch unit. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration—both with wireless connectivity—are standard across the range. Buick provides a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot as standard equipment, too, along with SiriusXM satellite radio, a six-speaker stereo, and an active noise-cancellation system.

Buyers of the Essence trim receive a seven-speaker stereo but can upgrade to a nine-speaker Bose setup by selecting the Technology package, which also adds in-dash navigation; both of those features are standard on the Avenir.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)

View Crash Test Results

Buick offers plenty of driver-assistance features as standard and more advanced features are optional. For more information about the Envision’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Available adaptive cruise control

 

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Buick’s standard warranty package offers more generous powertrain coverage than many of the Envision’s key rivals, but the ute’s one included service visit pales in comparison with the plans of the BMW X3 and the Jaguar F-Pace, both of which provide far lengthier terms for complimentary scheduled maintenance.

  • Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers six years or 70,000 miles
  • Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for the first visit

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Specifications

2021 Buick Envision Avenir AWD

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

PRICE AS TESTED
$47,105 (base price: $43,195)

ENGINE TYPE
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement
122 in3, 1998 cm3
Power
228 hp @ 5000 rpm
Torque
258 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm

TRANSMISSION
9-speed automatic

CHASSIS
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 12.3-in vented disc/12.4-in disc
Tires: Continental ProContact TX, 245/45R-20 99H M+S TPC SPEC 3105 MS

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 109.4 in
Length: 182.5 in
Width: 74.1 in
Height: 64.6 in
Passenger volume: 100 ft3
Cargo volume: 25 ft3
Curb weight: 4005 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 7.3 sec
100 mph: 20.8 sec
120 mph: 36.2 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.7 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.6 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 7.8 sec
1/4 mile: 15.7 sec @ 90 mph
Top speed (C/D est): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 162 ft
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.

C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 18 mpg

EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 25/22/29 mpg

 

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